ROSEBURG, Ore. (KOIN) — From a metal-working table in his Roseburg garage, Justin Troxel has turned a modest plan to raise money for victims of the Umpqua Community College shooting into a community-wide crusade.
Over the weekend, Troxel started making “Roseburg Strong” sheet metal signs.
“This is everybody coming together,” Troxel said. “You drive through town and you see them all over the place.”
Troxel has been spending his days welding rebar onto donated cutouts of the Oregon map which he then paints. In the process, he’s turned a simple sign into a symbol of the community’s resilience.
“I can’t even explain it,” he said. “I haven’t been to the college, but just driving past there and seeing one of our signs out there, it teared me up.”
It has been nearly a week since the tragic shooting that left 9 dead, but Troxel says he hasn’t had time to grieve yet.
He’s been busy finishing the “Roseburg Strong” signs that are being sold faster than he can make them. Since the weekend, 4,000 have been purchased.
Troxel says the sales have already raised $40,000 and all of that money will go to victims and their families.
“My number one goal is to show them how much the community loves them,” Troxel said.
The metal signs, their production and their sale are therapeutic in a sense, helping community members work through their grief.
“You watch people come, they’re broken, they’re hurting,” a community member said. “By the time they leave here they’re happy and smiling. They all have something in common, one way or another.”
Demand for the metal “Roseburg Strong” signs has been coming in all the way from Europe and Southeast Asia.